by Corinne Keating | July 9, 2016 12:55 am
The practice of yoga is so much more than a physical exercise. Practicing yoga allows one to connect with their body and mind in a way that’s hard to do while running on a treadmill or lifting weights. A main focus of yoga is looking inward, listening to yourself and practicing positive thinking.
This is what sets it apart from other physical activities, and it’s what makes it so great for those who need a boost in their self-esteem and confidence. One of the greatest benefits you can receive while on the mat is self-acceptance and self-love, which over time can give you the confidence you need to live life to its fullest.
Connect With Yourself
As you go through a yoga practice, you’ll be encouraged to stop and take full, deep breaths during almost every single pose. During these moments, you’re able to focus all of your energy on feeling what’s going on with your body, and also hearing what’s going on inside your brain.
For example, if your legs are killing you during a certain pose, you’ll feel it during those breaths and you can urge yourself to push through the pain. In the same way, if your mind is telling you that you aren’t good enough or aren’t strong enough, you’ll hear it and be able to shut it down or redirect your thoughts into positive statements. Often, we become addicted to these negative thoughts because we have such a low body image. Turning the negative thoughts into positive ones is easier said than done, but yoga is the perfect place to begin.
During yoga, you have a chance to really pay attention to what’s going on with your mind and body and alter it in any way that feels right.
Find Comfort With Your Abilities
Yoga gives you a clear opportunity to work on yourself, from your strength and flexibility to your self-talk. Your yoga instructor will probably tell you at least once that if a pose doesn’t feel comfortable, alter it so that it does.
Yoga isn’t trying to hurt you. When a pose isn’t working for your body, you’re allowed to pull back and reevaluate. You can even skip poses without being frowned upon. Try skipping a rep during a spin class and see the kind of judgment you receive to recognize how friendly a yoga class is in comparison.
The point is that yoga is all about accepting your body for what it can do — not putting it down because it can’t stretch as far as the person next to you. Adopting this mindset will help you accept your abilities and your body so you can do your best on the mat and leave the negativity at the door.
Yoga is even known to combat anxiety and depression. It boosts the chemicals that fight these feelings and helps you get back on track in just a single yoga class. In the same way, meditation (which is often part of a yoga class) is known to increase mindfulness and decrease depression. On top of all of the health benefits of yoga, including improved flexibility and lung function, lower blood pressure and reduced neck and back pain, you’ll also see yourself gaining strength and maybe even losing weight, as well as experiencing less anxiety and depression.
Yoga is all about accepting who you are, and your body for what it is. It won’t tell you that you aren’t good enough. Your mat is a safe zone. It’s a place where you can be honest with yourself and work on fighting those insecurities and doubts that creep into your mind and replace them with positive self-talk and body positivity.
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